The National Committee for Quality Assurance recently issued new standards for its Patient-Centered Medical Home program. More than 7,700 clinicians at 1,500 sites use existing standards from Washington-based NCQA in their medical home initiatives.
The initiatives call for substantially better coordination across the continuum of care, anchored by a primary care physician and augmented with extensive use of information technology. Physician practices meeting the new standards, called PCMH 2011, will be well positioned to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments, according to NCQA.
The new standards increase emphasis on practices organizing care to patients' preferences and needs. These cover such areas as improving care access during and after office hours, better collaboration with patients and families, providing services in patients' preferred language, helping patients with self-care, and facilitating access to community resources.
NCQA also is working with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop a medical home version of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems' Clinician & Group Survey, which measures patient satisfaction. AHRQ expects to release the medical home CAHPS during the last half of 2011.
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